Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Danish Whitework Treasures

My husband, who is Danish, is the eldest of four boys, and I am the only daughter-in-law who is interested in embroidery and textiles. This is lucky for me, because a number of years ago my mother-in-law was clearing out her collection of family treasures. She packed most of them up and posted them to me in Australia. I have framed some of them, and every few years, I take them out of the frames and wash them (very carefully!). It was time to do them again. So, before I put them back in the frames, I photographed them. This collar was made by one of my husband's great-aunts, who lived in NorthWestern Jutland. It appears to be Hedebo work, which was a whitework technique developed in Denmark. I just love it - I have no inclination to do this type of work myself, but I can really appreciate the intricacy of it.
This is a close-up of the beautiful work in it. The triangles are done with needleweaving.

The stitching in this butterfly isn't as fine, and I think was probably made by the other great-aunt, but it's still lovely. The antennae are quite fine - it's almost all stitching, with very little of the base cloth showing.
This collar fascinates me. The embroidery on it is beautiful, but...
...just look at the way it's been joined together!
I think this was probably done by someone other than the original embroiderer, maybe to make it smaller to fit a different dress. I'm also assuming that this join was the back of the collar, and maybe hidden by long hair. But, if you look back now at the photo of the first collar, you can see how uneven the neck edge is. I can't imagine why someone would do all that work on something that wasn't perfect, so I'd love to know the story behind these pieces. Unfortunately, I never will.

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